Perhaps you have heard the old joke about the grandfather who passes away in his sleep. “I hope I pass away peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather,” the joke goes, “and not yelling and hollering like everyone else in his car as they screamed to wake him up.”

The joke plays on the idea of shifting the narrative from something we have all probably hoped for at one time or another to something terrifying. That change catches you off guard the first time you hear it. This is probably accentuated by the fact that you think falling asleep at the wheel is not that common. That’s why you don’t see it coming. 

However, on a more serious note, this is a fairly common occurrence. According to the CDC, when drivers who were 18-years-old and older were asked if they had nodded off behind the wheel in just the last month, one out of every 25 said that they had. When you extrapolate that out to the millions of drivers in the United States, and when you simply think of how many people you pass on one drive to work in the morning, it’s worrying to think about how many may be on the edge of sleep. 

Furthermore, the CDC only asked about the last 30 days. Even if all 24 of those other drivers hadn’t done this recently, that doesn’t mean they hadn’t done it at all. The number would surely rise if you opened it up to the last year or even over a person’s life. 

If you get injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver, you may be able to seek compensation.